PictureFrom left, Ryan, David and Doug Canepa of Mill Valley Market at the 2017 Wine, Beer & Gourmet Food Tasting. Photo by Gary Ferber.

In 1987, as the Mill Valley School District grappled with an erosion of state funding for public schools, then-Mill Valley Market co-owner Bob Canepa decided it was time for the community step up and pick up the slack. Canepa literally went door-to-door to convince his fellow local business owners to chip in to support classes and programs at local schools.

Fast forward 30 years, and Mill Valley Market’s Shop & Give Program – the evolution of Canepa’s initial “Dollars for Scholars” effort, which now donates to more than 115 nonprofit organizations in the form of 2 percent on purchases, with the recipient organization selected by the shopper – is nearing a milestone of epic proportions. In the coming weeks, the program will cross the $1 million threshold in terms of money the market has donated to local nonprofits through the program since its inception in 1992.

To mark the achievement, Mill Valley Market is inviting its customers to shop in the store on December 16 to help push the program over the $1M mark. The customer who shops and chooses the nonprofit that pushes the total over the top will be acknowledged with a photo, a MVM t-shirt, and MVM will award a $500 bonus to that nonprofit. Mill Valley Market owners David and Doug Canepa will also award each of the Shop & Give nonprofits selected on Dec. 16 with 5 percent of the sales transactions that day. The Canepas will also donate $500 to the Friends of the Library in memory of their mother Jean Canepa, a longtime library volunteer.

That list of recipients spans every slice of life in Mill Valley, from Kiddo!, which was the original beneficiary under its early moniker of Mill Valley Schools Community Foundation, to Marin Humane Society, Marin Theatre Company, Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, Mill Valley Soccer Club, Mill Valley StreamKeepers, Mountain Play, One Tam, Outdoor Art Club, Rotary Club of Mill Valley and the Redwoods.

“It’s been a long time commitment of ours to find as many ways as possible to give back to our community,” Bob Canepa says.  
The Canepa family has seen firsthand the improvements to the school district as three generations of their family have attended Mill Valley public schools (15 students and counting). They’ve participated in library activities funded by Friends of the Library, gone on nature walks with the Audubon Society and adopted pets from the Marin Humane Society.

“At the end of the day, we all live in this community and the Shop & Give program is there to support all of the great organizations that serve it,” Bob Canepa says.

“Kiddo! is proud to have been a part of the Mill Valley Market’s Shop and Give program since its inception,” says Kiddo! founding director Trisha Garlock. “It continues to be a win-win for everyone and is a great way for families and community members to support our schools by shopping at our local market. We are grateful to the Canepas and the Mill Valley Market for their years of support and commitment to our community.”

Shop & Give Program
To keep things simple, MV Market customers merely need to mention the nonprofit organization on the list (full list below) they wish to support when they check out with their groceries. At the end of each quarter, 2 percent of sales goes to the nonprofits.  Additionally, the market rotates non-profits each month and allows them to advertise in the store as well as enjoy an increase in that month’s donation percentage for the organization.

Mill Valley Market – A Family Affair
Mill Valley Market was founded on July 4, 1929 by Frank Canepa. The store started out as a produce market located at 118 Throckmorton Avenue – the current home of Branded Boutique. Frank’s oldest son Jim Canepa took over the store in 1955, and moved it to its current location. Jim is credited with turning Mill Valley Market into the place it is today, and in 1975, Jim’s younger brother Bob Canepa became a partner in the business as well, continuing a long tradition of putting community involvement on par with daily work at the store. Current owners David and Doug Canepa, purchased the business in 1990 and have continued this tradition of community support. David’s son Ryan Canepa joined the business as a manager in 2009, and Doug Canepa’s son Eugene did so in 2015.


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